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Inbox: The atmosphere in that stadium should be special

That’s for the coaches to figure out

Highmark Stadium home of the Buffalo Bills
Highmark Stadium home of the Buffalo Bills

Vinny from Arlington, VA

So Mike, do you spring out of bed each morning and sprint to the office knowing that Wes is going to be there?

Uh, no, but he always beats me in. He is much more of a morning person than I am.

Mike from Cascade, ID

Hi Mike, congratulations on the city of Green Bay being selected as the third best city to live in within the United States! Do you think it's the Packers or those mild winters that got the city to move up 18 spots on the list?

It has to be the Hodkiewicz family root beer recipe. It must've finally gotten out.

Sal from Hailey, ID

We have one of the best running back duos in football, but I can't remember them both being on the field together much (this may just be my goldfish-like memory, though). Do you think that part of the falloff in our run game was missing that Ervin/jet sweep/gadget guy? How likely is Watson to get in some action there?

Hard to say to whom that role will fall. The offense did have Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon on the field together occasionally, but I suspect that might happen more in 2022. As to the drop in production on the ground, I trust the coaching staff has studied all the possible reasons to get a big-picture grasp of it. I'm inclined to chalk up the biggest chunk of it to not having an All-Pro left tackle for the entire season, missing a Pro Bowl guard for half the year, and transitioning from an All-Pro to a rookie center who ended up playing only six games anyway. To what level schematics factored, that's for the coaches to figure out.

Eric from Oshkosh, WI

The NYGs released CB Bradberry to save $10M saying they "had no choice" because of the cap. They even admitted they knew he'd be a starter on any team in the league next year, and now he signed with a division rival. I just want to give some kudos to Gutey/Ball for what they do. We have a top-level team and have managed the cap well with many big-time players. How deflating must it be for fans of teams that sorely lack in overall talent, yet lose their best players for cap reasons?

No team is immune from having to make cap-related moves. The Packers would love to still have Za'Darius Smith and Billy Turner on this team, but you can't keep everybody, and they're taking dead cap hits as a result. To your point, the wins and losses ultimately determine whether it's worth the trouble.

Mollie from Clintonville, WI

Where can I find the face-value ticket prices by what section number?

This color-coded seating chart lays it out pretty well.

Rick from Trempealeau, WI

There's an old saying, you want to play the good teams first because the bad teams don't KNOW that they're bad yet. Looking at the first four on the schedule, with the possible exception of the Bears, I'd say we're going to find out if that philosophy holds up. Your thoughts?

Not how I look at it exactly. "It's not who ya play but when ya play 'em" is the adage that rings true for me. Whether your team or an opponent is hot (or not), healthy (or not), rested (or not) and all sorts of other factors matter more in a thin-margin league than simply who's supposedly labeled "good" or "bad."

Neil from Tunbridge Wells, UK

Whilst covering training camp you must have favourite parts and not so favourite bits.

Getting to see 11-on-11 in full pads is the best, and most informative, part of training camp. There are no pads in OTAs, and we don't get to see 11-on-11 during the regular season. My least favorite part is when there's no place to hide from the sun on a really hot day.

Scott from Las Vegas, NV

We didn't hear much about Isaiah McDuffie last season, which is understandable in his first year. Do you get the sense he will get more playing time this season and does he look the part?

McDuffie likely will enter training camp no better than fourth on the depth chart at inside linebacker behind De'Vondre Campbell, Walker and Krys Barnes, so his ticket to playing time is on special teams. He needs to stand out there.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning. It looks like Kobe Jones is the only invitee from the Packers' rookie minicamp to sign with the team. He's listed as a 6-3, 255-pound linebacker from Mississippi State with one year of playing experience. Is he considered an "off the ball" linebacker or edge rusher? Thanks.

Jones is an edge rusher.

John from Boscobel, WI

Cannot understand the constant push to want the NFL to play overseas. Why is the NFL trying so hard to bring countries like the UK into American football when it's clear their brand of game they really love is soccer? I suspect the players and their significant others in GB may enjoy the mini-vacation to London this year but at what cost to the Packers? We have to take a key home-field advantage in a foreign benign stadium with a less than knowledgeable crowd and come home bushed.

First, the reason for the push overseas is there's money to be made. Have you ever watched a London game on TV and seen all the NFL jerseys in the stands? Merchandise sales, eyeballs on your sport, interest in your game … that's how the revenue pie continues to grow. Doesn't the NFL have enough, you say? Of course. But the league's owners didn't become some of the richest men around by being complacent. Second, all the whining about the Packers losing a home game overseas has to stop. Teams across the league from 2007-19 lost home games to London when there were only eight on the schedule. The Packers, nor the local economy, ever did. Green Bay got the better end of this for a long, long time, and now that the Packers are finally going over there, losing only a ninth home game they've never had to this point anyway, they'll have a decidedly favorable crowd behind them. Trust me, the UK fans who have been clamoring for this opportunity are no less knowledgeable.

Gary from Cross Plains, WI

Contrary to many readers (and maybe Mike/Wes), I'm OK with a division game right off the bat. Maybe it's the fantasy football view – start off the season against your division opponents when your teams are healthy. In theory, the best teams establish the tone for their division and get that early lead. While the NFL doesn't line up all your division games early, I think that tone-setting approach is good, too.

I get what you mean, and the point has merit. But it's such a long season that most teams in Week 1 just don't resemble what they're going to be, so I'd prefer division games not be played before more is established.

A.C. from Jasper, MO

I have often heard that Bud Grant had a strong disliking for Vince Lombardi. Outside of the obvious of being a division rival coach, do you have any insight?

I don't, but I'd suggest submitting your question through the portal on Cliff’s history page and see if he answers it sometime. Now I'm curious.

Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI

While smart, I have a very difficult time learning anything just by reading or watching. I'm sure there are players who learn better than by taking their iPad and just watching. Are coaches available to work with players, especially rookies, to help them learn the playbook when they aren't in rookie camps, OTAs and before camp starts?

There are contact restrictions during down times according to the CBA, but I'm not familiar with all the rules. I do believe that while the offseason program is ongoing, there are additional facility hours set aside for rookies beyond the daily maximum allotted for veterans.

Take a look at photos of Green Bay Packers CB Jaire Alexander through the years.

Tom from Phoenix, AZ

Good morning Insiders, this will be Patrick Taylor's third season with the Packers. I'd be interested in knowing how he looks physically this year coming into camp. I had to give his college stats a double take when I saw he played in 45 games at Memphis and rushed for 2,900 yards (third most in school history) but only started four games. I sure hope he becomes a bigger part of Green Bay's offense this year. Is this a make-or-break year for him?

With Kylin Hill coming off the ACL and two undrafted rookies providing the only other competition, Taylor presumably will be the front-runner for the No. 3 running back spot. I've always said he looks the part physically, and he got his first dose of NFL action last year, which sets him up well. But given all he's been through, Taylor will take nothing for granted I'm sure, and a healthy Hill will push hard for that job, too. Make or break? I think players in his position look at every year like that.

George from North Mankato, MN

Outside of the game in London, which away game has you most excited for the stadium experience? Have you been to all the NFL stadiums? Any favorites and ones you would prefer not to visit?

The only ones I haven't been to are the new stadiums in LA (SoFi) and Vegas. This year, I'm probably most looking forward to going back to Buffalo. Not because of the stadium per se, but because my previous two trips there (2006, '14) the Bills were not contenders and the games were frankly rather blah (and bad losses for the Packers). It's tragic and upsetting what occurred there this past weekend, and hopefully the community can heal. But that aside for the moment, the atmosphere in that stadium should be special this time, unlike anything I've experienced there.

Dale from Owatonna, MN

In his rookie season you heard Jaire Alexander's name. Then in each of the next couple seasons you did not hear it much; teams just stopped throwing his way. I am really happy with this signing and as an owner it's one of the smartest moves under my tenure. Seriously though, really glad to see this guy healthy and back in the green and gold for a few more seasons.

The Packers' defensive coaches are plenty glad, too.

Dan from Herriman, UT

Mike, the watch changing thing is funny. I have a smart phone that will tell me what time it is anywhere I happen to travel. If I wear a watch, which isn't often, I don't change the time on it either. I'm with Vic on this one.

I think if Vic could have figured out how to keep his smartphone from changing the time, he would have.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

Mike, your answer to Logan from Dublin, GA, "I want to enjoy my spring and summer first" are words to live by, though judging by the temperature in Tally summer has sprung. Do you have any particular must do's, a Brewers game or two perhaps?

I'm definitely going to get to a couple ballgames this summer before it gets away from me. Just haven't decided exactly when yet.

Jerico from La Crosse, WI

Insiders, any chance you two are filling the slow time with competitive cornhole matches in the Lambeau Field end zone? I'd pay to see that.

Sorry, no. But I am going to step away for a bit and turn over the controls to Wes. Play nice, everybody. Happy Thursday.